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AFP
July 23, 2019

Zelensky’s party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine

World

AFP
July 23, 2019

Ukraine’s comedian-turned-President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country’s political arena.

The 41-year-old became Ukraine’s youngest ever post-Soviet leader when he took office two months ago and has promised to stamp out corruption and end a separatist war.

His newly created Servant of the People party -- named after a sitcom in which he played a president -- took around 42 percent of the weekend vote, with 50 percent of votes counted.

Media projections on Monday showed this puts the party on track to pick up more than half of the parliament’s 450 seats, the best showing by any party in Ukraine’s post-1991 history.

The result is the culmination of a stunning turnaround in Ukrainian politics and will bring a host of newcomers into parliament and government.

One of the many young and politically inexperienced future lawmakers that will enter parliament is Zhan Beleniuk, a 28-year-old Olympic wrestler with Rwandan roots.

Four other parties -- including one openly supported by the Kremlin -- passed the five percent threshold to enter the assembly, the results showed.

At 49.8 percent, the turnout was the lowest of any election in Ukraine’s post-independence history.

It was initially thought Zelensky would have to form a coalition.

The president had indicated a preference for another new political force, the Golos (Voice) party of rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk.

The singer’s party, also packed with young professionals like Zelensky’s, made it to parliament with six percent of the vote, according to the latest results.

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